My name is Sahar Simmons and I am the author of Briana's Neighborhood Children's Brand. Briana is a socially conscious eight-year-old, inquisitive African American girl who is affected by her surroundings and environment. I have dedicated my life to empowering youth through my storybook characters.
The beauty of kids is their ability to dream big, challenge thought processes and ask questions. The Briana series was created from the premise of allowing kids to see, understand and experience life through different lenses than adults.
Our innocent youth are taught by what they learn and see. As adults, racial and ethnic isolation harbor fear and hostility that keep bigotry alive.
Parents and influencers of youth must create an open environment with children in the home about race, ethnicity, religion and bigotry. The quality of our children’s future is at stake.
Studies show that between the ages of five and eight, children are old enough to begin to think about social issues and young enough to remain flexible in their beliefs. By the fourth grade, children's racial attitudes start to grow more rigid. Our guidance is especially crucial during this impressionable, turbulent time.
I was inspired to create an illustrated story told through the eyes of Briana and her friends, due to the disheartening current events and dysfunctional political system. I have also listened and heard from parents about their struggles to talk to their children about these issues. Kids are confused to what's going on because they aren't yet tainted...we want to keep them innocent but aware. I can't help but to reference Michelle Obama's speech about her and Barack telling their kids, 'when they go low, we go high.' We want to keep the right narrative, so that through our kids, we get to be reminded of the humility, compassion, respect and decency to which we want to aspire.
This book will depict some of the monumental scenes and issues that have recently taken place in our society: The Charleston 9 Shootings, Police Brutality, Peaceful Protests, Voting rights & historical moments.
It is our job to encourage children to reach across racial and ethnic lines and to recognize the humanity of all people. If we avoid these subjects, we run the risk of strengthening prejudices.
We know that the need is great and the time is now. Your contribution and resources to spread the word about this book will directly affect the education of millennials and future generations.
Your donations will be used to: Create, illustrate, edit and publish the first 250 copies. Each donor will receive a signed copy in addition to acknowledgment on the dedication page. 2017 book release
Words will never express my passion for youth and how I will continue to make a difference through education, creativity and literacy.